Fungal Biodiversity and Their Role in Soil Health.
Frąc M, Hannula SE, Bełka M, Jędryczka M
Front Microbiol. 2018. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00707
COMMENT: Soil health is directly connected with the production of healthy food which impacts public and animal health. In this mini review Frąc and coworkers focuses on fungal biodiversity and its role in the health of managed soils as well as on the current methods used in soil mycobiome identification and utilization next generation sequencing (NGS) approaches.
The authors separately focus on agriculture and horticulture as well as grassland and forest ecosystems. Moreover, this mini review describes the effect of land-use on the biodiversity and succession of fungi.
Soil fungi can be classified into three functional groups including:
1. Biological controllers, fungi that can regulate diseases, pests, and the growth of other organisms
2. Ecosystem regulators, responsible for soil structure formation and modification of habitats for other organisms by regulating the dynamics of physiological processes in the soil environment.
3. Species participating in organic matter decomposition and compound transformations, improving plant growth by increasing the uptake of nutrients and protecting plants against pathogens.
The authors recommend a shift from cataloging fungal species in different soil ecosystems towards a more global analysis based on functions and interactions between organisms.
According to authors' conclusion:
Having the right tools, and being able to both identify species and characterize their role in the environment is important. The ability to compare functional structures between ecosystems and predict responses to environmental changes and interventions would be a useful advance.